Upscale Bushwick building seeks ‘settlers’

Upscale Bushwick building seeks ‘settlers’
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

An upscale Bushwick apartment building called Colony 1209 invites “settlers” to treat the neighborhood that it calls “Brooklyn’s new frontier” like urban pioneers.

Neighbors say the language used on the development’s website, which invites would-be residents to try “homesteading, Bushwick style,” is racist and offensive, and is the last thing that neighborhood newcomers should aspire to.

“What are they thinking?” said Madeline Trueman, who moved around the corner from the pricey apartment compound on DeKalb Avenue between Bushwick and Evergreen avenues last year. “No one with any ethics or understanding of history would live in a place like that.”

The boxy blue-and-grey complex spans nearly a block. Its website promises would-be Bushwick conquistadors a fertile wilderness with all the comforts of home, including “an art-filled lobby and attentive doorman,” not to mention a vibrant social scene consisting exclusively of fellow explorers.

“Here in bohemian Bushwick, Brooklyn, you’ll find a group of like-minded settlers, mixing the customs of their original homeland with those of one of NYC’s most historic neighborhoods to create art, community, and a new lifestyle,” the site says.

Also on offer is a gym, a “lush courtyard,” a roof deck and a billiards lounge. One other advertised amenity could be intended for imaginative former Williamsburg residents yearning to be back near the East River, claiming that as a Bushwick colonist “Manhattan is your backdrop.”

The new homestead: The boxy, nearly-block-long Colony 1209 complex is the new face of colonialism.
Photo by Stefano Giovannini

Realtor aptsa‌ndlof‌ts.com is renting out units in the place, where a two-bedroom can run as costly as $3,467 a month, according to online listings. The building’s public relations team did not return repeated calls for comment.

The colonialist language used in Colony 1209’s promotional materials recall what famed Brooklyn son and filmmaker Spike Lee called “Christopher Columbus Syndrome” in his famed anti-gentrification tirade this February.

“You can’t discover this. We’ve been here,” he told a packed Pratt Institute auditorium back then.

Bushwick has the second-most rapidly rising rents of any Brooklyn neighborhood, having seen an 11.3 percent increase in average rent since last year, according to industry data. The average Bushwick two-bedroom now costs $2,372 a month, up from $2,121 last summer, according to the MNS Brooklyn Rental Market Report.

As far as the racial makeup of the neighborhood goes, two of the 25 zip codes with the fastest growth in white population from 2000 to 2010 nationwide include the predominately Latino Bushwick, according to an analysis.

Reach reporter Danielle Furfaro at dfurf‌aro@c‌ngloc‌al.com or by calling (718) 260-2511. Follow her at twitt‌er.com/‌Danie‌lleFu‌rfaro.
“New frontier”: Colony 1209 calls Bushwick “Brooklyn’s new frontier,” ignoring or dehumanizing the neighborhood’s many longtime residents.